By Giovanna Paola Rodriguez ’18
Photo: Norwich Criminal Justice majors at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (l-r): Steven Carter ’17, Jacob Shoemaker ’17, Giovanna Rodriguez ’18, Zachary Mattera ’16, Nick Schroeder ’18, Seth Artero ’18, and Ivan Ilic ’17
Studying abroad was quite an unforgettable experience. In spring 2015 I was given the opportunity to continue my education through a program conducted in partnership with g-MEO, an American-based company, and Sichuan University in Chengdu, China. Over the semester I was able to take four criminal justice courses, Race and Ethics, and Human Trafficking toward my Criminal Justice degree. The classes were taught in the American Center, a building strictly for the American college students studying abroad. The 22 students that comprised the program in spring 2015 came from different colleges and universities, including Fairleigh Dickinson University, American University, Carroll University, Saint Peters University, and Norwich University.
I always pictured China as a country filled with millions of people, where personal space was unheard of. Everyone told me that China would be overcrowded and dirty, the people would be unfriendly, and that China overall would simply be a place I would not enjoy. Yet, it was the exact opposite. There is nowhere I have felt safer than Chengdu, China. Chinese people are indeed very friendly to foreigners and take a genuine interest in you, as they watch you grow throughout your time here. The roads are swept and washed regularly, every morning and evening. Studying in Chengdu, I did not experience overcrowding, but in Beijing or other tourist attraction districts it was expected and seen.
While in China I had the opportunity to explore Shanghai, Xi’an, and Beijing. During my weekend trip to Shanghai I visited numerous temples, including Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai Confucian Temple, and Jing’an Temple. I also visited the World Financial Center, Yu Garden (Yuyuan),Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu), Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, The Bund (Wai Tan), Old Town (Nanshi), People’s Square (Renmin Guang Chang), and the Jin Mao Tower. The weekend trip to Xi’an was sponsored by G-meo. It was a 16-hour train ride there, quite an experience! But the Terra-cotta Warriors museum, the City Wall, Muslim quarters, and Hot Springs were fantastic, and the city had lots of restaurants. Finally, on my trip to Beijing, I climbed the Great Wall and visited The Summer Palace, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and Tianan’men Square. One thing I can say is that with every trip I took I was left speechless, because I encountered a variety of people from around the word and gained many enjoyable experiences.
Like all good things come to an end, I eventually had to say my farewells and depart, but I know that I will return in the near future. The program changed my perspective on the Chinese culture and has made me more knowledgeable. I hope this program expands and many more college students take the opportunity to discover the true wonders of China.